Despite a below par start to his season, Jenson Button believes he will still fight for the Formula 1 world championship as the season progresses.
Speaking to the Mirror Button said, “The championship is still on as far as I am concerned and I am aiming for that. Definitely. Sebastian [Vettel] almost beat me to the title in 2009 and he didn’t score for the first four races.”
Button has scored, albeit a meagre two points in the first two races of 2013. Last year the Englishman had won a race and had 25 points to his credit at this point.
The McLaren MP4-28 was troublesome in Melbourne but Button believes there was a change of fortune in Malaysia, “It’s a massive turnaround for us. Most of the race in Sepang we were quicker than the Lotus. Most of the race we were quicker than Ferrari. Who would have thought that five days before? We are still not where we want to be and we got a bit lucky with the circuit being so smooth which helped a bit but a lot is understanding where the downforce is.”
A botched pitstop put an early end to what was panning out to be a fight for a podium spot.
“The car is still not perfected, it was really thrown together for Sepang. The great thing is there are so many cars that are competitive and taking points off each other, which is exactly what we need. It was such a positive weekend until the pit stop and it hurt. And it hurt when I woke up the next day knowing we scored nothing and we could have, at worst, been fifth,” reflected the 2009 world champion.
The three week gap between Malaysia and China will play in Mclaren’s favour as it gives their engineers more time to find that sweet spot that has eluded them thus far.
“For us the gap means more than it does to most teams because it gives us time to perfect the car. I am a very happy driver at the moment knowing we have improved so much. And I know what the team can achieve over the next few weeks to take a strong car to in China,” said Button.
The McLaren driver admits that emotions took strain in the opening races, “I have gone from being pretty down in Melbourne to being a lot more positive in the five days between the first two races. Things are not all sorted. We still have issues and need to get the car’s ride sorted but in terms of development the car is much better. We’ve had a massive turnaround.”
He added, “We are still off the pace of the Red Bulls but it is still amazing how much you can move forward in five days and I was surprised to be in fifth and still being able to see the leader.”
“It is what it is. We’ve got to move on and look forward to China,” concluded Button. (GP247)